Monday, October 21, 2019

Fire Roasted Vegetable Lasagna on the Big Green Egg

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A ceramic kamado grill (Big Green Egg, Primo, Kamado Joe, Grilla Kong, etc.) is similar to a wood-fired oven, and that is one of my favorite ways to use it.  The ceramic dome lid serves both as a heat modulator and reflector, which results in even cooking.  Natural hardwood lump charcoal burns quite cleanly and gives the food a pleasantly mild, fire-roasted flavor.  It is PERFECT for lasagna; I fire-roasted my first lasagna years ago, and I haven't cooked one in the oven since.

This Fire Roasted Vegetable Lasagna is fan-freaking-tastic.   We recently made this veggie lasagna for a pot-luck lunch at our office.  We have a few vegetarians at our office, so I came up with the recipe for them.  

Vegetarian lasagna on the big green egg kamado grill aka veggie lasagna

Turns out, this isn't a "vegetarian lasagna," this is a luscious, creamy, and delicious lasagna that just happens to be vegetarian.  

Vegetable lasagna fire roasted on a Big Green Egg kamado grill.
If you don't have a ceramic kamado grill (you should!), you can make this on most grills or even your oven.  

Fire Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

www.nibblemethis.com
Published 10/21/2019
This is a creamy, cheesy, and delicious lasagna that just happens to be vegetarian.  

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lasagna noodles, cooked per package directions
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (divided)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  • 1 ounce parmesan cheese, shredded

For the Spinach Provolone Sauce
  • 16 ounces fresh baby spinach, rinsed, big stems removed
  • 6 tablespoon unsalted butter (divided)
  • 4 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 6-8 slices Sargento ultra-thin provolone
For the "Veggie Meat"

  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1 small onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon NMT Umami Steak Seasoning
For the Cheese Stuffing
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • mozzarella from above
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

Instructions

  1. Wilt the spinach.  Preheat a large lidded pot over medium heat.  Add 2 tablespoons of butter and once melted add all of the spinach, stirring to coat with the butter.  Cover and cook until the spinach is completed wilted, about 7 minutes.  Thoroughly drain the spinach and chop.
  2. Make the spinach provolone sauce.  Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in the same pot, over medium heat.  Sprinkle in 4 tablespoons of flour while whisking.  Continue to whisk until all of the flour is combined with the butter, about 1 minute.  Slowly pour in the beef stock, while continuously whisking, until combined.  Add the cream same way.  Add in the provolone 1 slice at a time, whisking.  Season with the salt, white pepper, red pepper flake, and garlic.  Stir in the spinach.  Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if desired.
  3. Make the "veggie meat."  Preheat a skillet on a grill at 400°f for 5 min OR over medium-high heat on the stovetop.  Add 2 tablespoons of butter, bell peppers, and carrot and saute until almost tender, about 7 minutes, and remove.  Add 2 more tablespoons of butter and cook onion and zucchini until tender, about 5 minutes.  Mix the onion and zucchini together with the peppers and carrot.  Season with the NMT Umami Steak Seasoning.  
  4. Make the Ricotta Cheese Mix. Mix 16 oz ricotta, 2 cups of shredded mozzarella, and 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning in a medium bowl.
  5. Build the lasagna.  Grease a 9 x 13" casserole dish or a half-sized steam pan. See the graphic down in the notes for a visual representation.  Place a large spoonful of the spinach provolone sauce on the bottom and spread evenly to lightly coat the bottom of the dish.  Lay 3 cooked lasagna noodles side by side and top with a little more than a third of the ricotta cheese mix.  Lay 3 more noodles and top with about one-third of the spinach provolone sauce, half of the "veggie meat," and a half cup of shredded mozzarella.  Repeat these two layers.  Top with 3 more lasagna noodles and then the remaining spinach provolone and ricotta cheese mix.
  6. Preheat your cooker.  Set up your kamado grill for indirect heat and preheat it to 375°f.   We have used this recipe with an Adjustable Rig set up, and the standard ConvEGGtor set up, both work just fine. You could also use an oven at 375°f.
  7. Fire roast the lasagna.  Cook until cooked through and golden brown on top, about 45 min at 375f
  8. Remove and serve.  Remove from the grill, garnish with parsley, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flake, and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes to let it "set."   Slice and serve.
Yield: 8-10 servings
Prep Time: 1 hrs. 00 mins.
Cook time: 02 hrs. 00 mins.
Total time: 3 hrs. 0 mins.
Tags: vegetarian, lasagna


Notes/Substitutions


  • NMT Umami Steak Seasoning - The mushroom powders of this seasoning adds an extra layer of flavor.  In a pinch, you can substitute 50/50 kosher salt and black pepper or a general-purpose seasoning, like Albukirky Casa Seasoning.
  • Spinach Provolone Sauce - This is the secret to the fantastic flavor of this lasagna, and it is worth the effort.  I guess you could do a cheating version by using a thawed package of frozen chopped spinach mixed with 1 1/2 cups of jarred alfredo sauce.  I haven't tried that, it's just an idea.


The texture of the spinach provolone sauce is like an excessively creamy, creamed spinach.  I originally came up with this idea after making those Twice-Baked Spinach Alfredo Potatoes.

A Kick Ash Basket makes it easy to shake out the ash and reuse your leftover charcoal.
Remember, smoke is a seasoning, use it wisely.  For this dish, the end result should taste fire-roasted, not excessively smoky.  So I only use Parker's Tennessee hardwood lump charcoal and no smoking wood.  As always, clean your kamado before cooking.  Shake that ash using a Kick Ash Basket and fill 'er up.

I love the expansive room that my Big Green Egg Modular Nest provides.
You can do the sauteing part on your stovetop, but I prefer using a cast-iron skillet on the grill.  I love the expansive room that my Big Green Egg Modular Nest provides.

Lodge 10.25" skillet on a Big Green Egg kamado grill
One of the most useful accessories for a grill is a 10" cast iron skillet.  This basic one from Lodge is one of my favorites, and they are usually under $25.  

Remember that these are going to cook in the lasagna too, so they should be just starting to turn tender.  You don't want them turning to mush in the lasagna.

The zucchini and onion part is also an excellent side for steaks.

Alexis and I call this our "veggie meat."   It is excellent tossed with pasta, in wraps, or in soups.


Cast iron skillets are nearly indestructible as long as you take care of them.  The best way to do this is as soon as you are done using it, wash it with scorching hot water, and a chain mail scrubber.  Dry it off and wipe it down with high temperature cooking oil.  When you shut down your kamado grill, and the temp has dropped to about 350°f, just stick the skillet upside down in the grill and leave it overnight.  My skillets stay well seasoned this way.

I use my Saber Elite 1500 infrared grill's side burner for cooking the lasagna noodles.  It doesn't do anything better than the stovetop, it just doesn't heat the house up and I can keep an eye on it while grilling.

Here's a small tip - use silicone tongs for handling your cooked lasagna noodles.  The metal ones with scalloped edges will tear right through them.
The lasagna layers go down like this.

The ricotta cheese and mozzarella layer should look like this.  Don't overdo it on the mozzarella, it's on every layer.

Using a Pampered Chef Family Heritage Collection Stoneware Rectangular Baker for lasagna.
Our "go-to" lasagna pan is a 9 x 13" non-glazed stoneware from Pampered Chef.  The specific model is Family Heritage Collection Stoneware Rectangular Baker.  I don't think they make them anymore, but you can buy them used online or you can find similar dishes.  Stoneware rocks in a kamado.

The first time we made the lasagna, we did it in half-sized steam pans.  These are handy for transporting food to parties and such, but I prefer the thicker-walled stoneware when possible.


The spinach provolone sauce should be spread around like this, not totally covering the noodles, but there is some all over it.

Spread the veggie meat all around on this layer.

Don't forget the cheese!

Alexis assembling our lasagna on our Challenger Designs Touch 48 grill table.  You need plenty of room to spread out.  

Big Green Eggs in a BGE Modular Nest and a Challenger Designs Torch 48
The first time we made this, we made two pans of traditional lasagna and one pan of the veggie lasagna.  I did the two pans of traditional lasagna in the BGE on the left and the vegetarian lasagna in the BGE on the right.  


I like 375°f for a cook temp but anywhere in the 350-400°f range is fine.


How to cook lasagna on a kamado grill such as kamado joe, big green egg or primo
For this lasagna, my indirect set up was a stock BGE ConvEGGtor and cooking grid.  You don't need a drip pan, I just had it in there and didn't feel like moving it.

Two pans of lasagna on a Big Green Egg using an Adjustable Rig
For doing multiple pans of lasagna, I like to use an Adjustable Rig set up.  You could also use a homemade raised grid, a Big Green Egg Eggspander, or a Kamado Joe Divide and Conquer.  

It is up to your preferences for how golden brown you cook the top.  You need at least some of the dark brown for the fire-roasted flavor.  If you like it darker, just let it go for about 1 hour.

You need to let the lasagna rest a bit so it will firm up or "set."  For the work party, I loaded them into my trusty Cambro UPC-300 to keep them warm while transporting them.  I LOVE Cambro food carriers or "hot boxes."  If you do a lot of butts and brisket or if you transport food often, I can't recommend a hot box enough. 


Recipe for vegetable lasagna, aka vegetarian lasagna
You will be tempted to dive right in, but let it rest!  Go make some garlic bread or a side salad to keep yourself occupied :)

Everyone that has had this vegetable lasagna has raved about it.  It doesn't matter that it's vegetarian, it tastes incredible!


Best ever vegetarian lasagna recipe cooked on a big green egg
This is in my top 3 lasagnas of all time.
Give this recipe or your favorite lasagna recipe a go on a kamado grill.  Like me, I doubt you'll ever cook it in the oven again.

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